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POTAG to resume strike as government reneges on its promise

POTAG to resume strike as government reneges on its promise
Source: Ghana||Ivy Benson
Date: 21-10-2013 Time: 05:10:04:pm
Felix Kwakye Ofosu, Deputy Information and Media Relations Minister

Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) is warning of a fresh strike even as government struggles with high wage bills amidst increasing demand for improved salaries.

The teachers are threatening to take the action as a result of government’s inability to pay the arrears of its 2012 market premium allowance.

According to POTAG, its members are running out of patience over government’s inability to abide by an agreement to complete the payment of the money by September.

Government in May and June, paid the first and second tranches of arrears, but has defaulted on the third and final payment.

Speaking to JOYNEWS, Kumasi Polytechnic Branch Chairman of POTAG, Edmond Oppong Peprah indicated the need for government to act on their concerns.

"I believe that strike action to be the last resort that is why we are drawing the attention of our plight this quickly. So if government means well and it wants to abide by its own time agreement, then nothing stops government from reacting to this", Edmond Oppong Peprah noted.

According to him, this was not an issued for government to wait till it resulted into strike action

"I do not see the reason why government should sit down for this to result into strike action", the Kumasi Polytechnic Branch Chairman of POTAG asserted.

However, government has called for restraint on the labour front with assurances that it was doing its best to address all concerns raised on the labour front.

Speaking at a media briefing at the Flagstaff house in Accra today, Deputy Information Minister, Felix Kwakye Fosu noted that government would take action on the concerns raised by labour as soon as a committee tasked on the issues, makes available it reports.

"A committee has been tasked to present a preliminary report as quickly as possible and government looks forward that sometime this week, the report would be made available based upon which some actions could be taken", the deputy minister asserted.

Mr. Kwakye Fosu was responding to the concerns raised about the comments made by the National Security Advisor, Brigadier General Nunoo Mensah at the weekend.
The Deputy Information and Media Relations Minister was further of the view that government recognizes the right to embark on strike action but urge  that it should be done with some moderation.

"Government indeed acknowledges the right to embark on such strike action, nonetheless, government would urge restraint on their part and indeed, we have noted that some of the rhetoric that have come out from some leaders of labour groups, who are on strike, have left much to be desired”, the deputy minister reiterated.

According to Mr. Kwakye Ofosu, it was important for POTAG to come to the negotiation table and not put forward their concerns through "war of words". "We encourage national debate on the subject. One cannot take away the right to debate on any matter but as far as government is concerned, such debates must be devoid of intemperate language that could defeat the very purpose for which negotiations are engaged to resolve these matters", the deputy minister stressed.


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